PORT ST. LUCIE, FL–Officials from the Mets front office denied reports that pitcher Johan Santana was near death. Rumors surfaced over the weekend that the ace lefty, currently recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, had either already expired or was on death’s door.
“Every rehab is different, and discretion is preferable when trying to come back from an injury as difficult as Johan’s,” GM Sandy Alderson told reporters on Monday. “We’re not going to rush anything, but I want to stress that he has had no setbacks so far, and that he is also very much alive.”
On Saturday, unnamed sources close to the Mets’ organization told several beat writers that the team feared Santana would be lost for the season due to his impending death. “If Santana passed away, you probably wouldn’t see him this year,” the source said, “since that would delay his rehab and keep him from seeing major league action until at least September.”
Santana, appearing at the Mets’ spring training facility in corporeal form, repeated Alderson’s denials. “My shoulder’s a little sore, but they tell me that’s typical for this kind of rehab, and I should be long tossing again very soon.” To prove that he was not a ghost, Santana demonstrated his inability to walk through doors.
The team’s main concern is that the surgery Santana underwent last year is similar to that performed on Chien-Ming Wang and Mark Prior, neither of whom have pitched effectively ever since. And while Santana has yet to shuffle off this mortal coil, it would be a big hit to the team’s long-term chances were he to do so. Officials from other teams, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, suspected the Mets are not being entirely truthful, since in the grand scheme of things, each of us has one foot in the grave.
New manager Terry Collins responded to the reports by screaming something unintelligible through a bullhorn.